A transformative gift from two of Colby’s most generous supporters will open new pathways to teaching and scholarship and catalyze the College’s position as an international arts destination.

Lunder Institute for American Art at the Colby College Museum of ArtIn February President David A. Greene told an anticipatory crowd that the gift from Peter ’56, D.F.A. ’98 and Life Trustee Paula Lunder, D.F.A. ’98 will make the Colby College Museum of Art—already considered one of the finest college museums in the nation—a beacon of scholarship and curation that will draw visitors and art historians from around the world.

“The Lunders have done so much for Colby, from financial aid, to supporting our building development, to gifts of incredible art,” Greene said in announcing the gift at a celebration of the Lunders during the Board of Trustees meeting in Boston.

The Lunders’ gift of more than $100 million will add nearly 1,150 artworks to the museum’s collection and will launch the Lunder Institute for American Art, establishing Colby as the only liberal arts college with a world-class art museum and a global research center on American art. It will be dedicated to the practice, study, and exhibition of American art and will transform Colby’s art collection and scholarly activities by bringing together artists, curators, scholars, and students through cross-disciplinary engagement.

The gift of artworks and endowment of the Lunder Institute will make it possible for the Lunder Collection at the Colby Museum to speak to a global audience, to make Waterville, Maine, a must-see arts destination, and to build on opportunities for Colby students to interact with and analyze the collection.

Jacob Lawrence, Builders #1, 1968. Gouache and tempera on paper. The Lunder CollectionMalvina Hoffman, Bacchanale Russe, 1917. Bronze. The Lunder CollectionMilton William Hopkins, Martha Ellen Connell, 1838. Oil on canvas. The Lunder CollectionNikki S. Lee, The Seniors Project (28), 1999. Chromogenic color print. The Lunder Collection 

Clockwise from top left: Jacob Lawrence, Builders #1, 1968. Gouache and tempera on paper. The Lunder Collection; Malvina Hoffman, Bacchanale Russe, 1917. Bronze. The Lunder Collection; Nikki S. Lee, The Seniors Project (28), 1999. Chromogenic color print. The Lunder Collection; Milton William Hopkins, Martha Ellen Connell, 1838. Oil on canvas. The Lunder Collection.

“For many years, we have been inspired and impressed by Colby’s teaching mission and the many ways that the museum is deeply integrated into the curriculum to become a vibrant part of college life,” said Peter and Paula Lunder in a statement. “We are delighted that our art collection will be shared with future Colby students, the Waterville community, and visitors to Maine, and we know that Colby College will do a marvelous job enhancing the collection with their academic programs—we feel that Colby is the perfect home for our collection.”

That collection has been created through years of the Lunders selecting “the best of the best,” said Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby College Museum of Art and Chief Curator Sharon Corwin. “We are so grateful for the attention and love and care they put into their collecting.”

“The arts and humanities have never been more essential to the liberal arts mission. It is through these disciplines that we understand what it means to be human, to create, and to live amongst one another with an appreciation for all our beautiful complexities.”—President David A. Greene

To advance critical and creative research in American art and related fields, the Lunder Institute will host a residential program for scholars and artists on campus and in downtown Waterville. Summer and academic-year residencies, ranging from several weeks to a year, will be offered to graduate students, scholars, curators, and emerging and internationally renowned artists who may develop new site-specific works on campus and in the community.

These fellows will be a strong part of the intellectual and creative life of the College, working directly with faculty, students, and community members, and inspiring a dialogue between art creation and scholarship. The Lunder Institute’s activities will also include an exhibition program, a robust publication program, and the organization of major multidisciplinary symposia.

Learn more at lunderinstitute.colby.edu